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  • my letter to friends & family...

    hello all...

    Now back to work, full steam & back to life as it was...this am, I had a reminder of my chemo, some numbness in the fingers & feet...a great reminder I'm still around...called my wife to arrange a quick getaway with the kids sometime this summer...it's easy to jump back in to life and forget how lucky we are sometimes...the numbness is a good reminder for me and I'm happy when it's around.

    I had written a letter to my friends & family after I came out of chemo. Those of you on this board were so helpful and supportive I wanted to share it so here it is:

    ___________

    Dear Friends and Family,

    I am writing to thank all of you for all of your cards, thoughts and prayers over the past several months.

    I had my last chemotherapy treatment toward the end of April. I recently had various tests to determine the status of my cancer – I am very happy to let everyone know that there were no signs of remaining cancer and I am officially in remission. I will continue to go for regular checkups, but the chance of recurrence is very low.

    It has been a very interesting experience. If I had a choice, I would not want to have gone through this, and I would never want anyone I know to go through it…but having been through it, it is an experience I would not trade for anything.

    Dominique, the kids and I did have some enjoyable moments. I let Mikayla and Mitch shave my head early on. They got a kick out of that. Mikayla videotaped the event and Mitch did the shaving. Mikayla said I looked good, and she really could not see much of a difference; Mitch said I looked like an egg. For the record, Mitch was right.

    You really can find humor in everything too – never take yourself seriously. About 2/3rds of the way through the chemo I was at my lowest, physically & mentally. I had to check back in the hospital for some complications and one night, at about 3am, I was trying to urinate in one of the small containers nurses make you use to monitor your output….anyway, there I was 30 pounds under my normal weight, white as a ghost, shaking and hairless…picture ET when they found him in the riverbed. And as I’m at the edge of my bed, I caught my reflection in a wall mirror and actually laughed out loud…I had never seen such a pathetic sight. The laugh did me good; it had been a while.

    I wish there were words to express how grateful I am to Dominique. I believe it was hardest on her. I was doing something for my cancer, while she could only watch. Watching in situations like this is always harder. She did everything – took care of the kids, drove me to every hospital visit, brought me every meal in the hospital and mostly, gave me strength and love. If I feared anything, it was that I always pictured us growing old, and I could not bear to think of something taking that away.

    The most difficult time was the call to my parents to let them know I had cancer. I phoned the night before my surgery. Having kids, I know I would gladly go through chemo 10 times before I’d see them suffer for a day. I still do not like to think of how difficult it must have been for them. But they gave me great hope and courage.

    My brother and sister, Mike and Ali, were wonderful. I’ve always been close to them, but now we call each other much more often and I always let them know I love them when we hang up. Ali called Dominique daily. Mike came down to see me in the hospital during that low period I mentioned. I welled up with tears when he left.

    My mother and father in law were there the whole way. They come down to help out during the first couple weeks and every Sunday night I got a call from my father in law wishing me well for the coming weeks treatments. My sister in law France, her husband Steve and son Yann also came down as well and she and my other sister in law Nancy took the kids skiing for a week in Canada. The support & help was great.

    I had the chance to catch up with some good friends I’ve had since I was a kid. My childhood friend since I was 8, Ken, called me quite a bit to check in. He’s was an inspiration but he probably did not know it. You realize that your best friends will always be there and that looking back - some of the best times of my life – were spent with him. Having a friend like Ken makes life worthwhile and I hope all those I care about get to have a friend like him.

    My Oncologist, Dr. Benedetto and his team were outstanding. He is in the business of saving lives and has a passion for what he does. In the hospital he’d stop by at midnight some days, and at 6am other days. He is a noted authority for my type cancer and therefore people come to see him from all parts. I don’t know when he sleeps. I think we all want to make a difference in the world…to help others – he does make differences daily. He saved my life and I am grateful to him.

    On my last week in the hospital, Dominique arrived at my room ahead of me. She decorated the room with all of the cards, posters, letters and drawings that all of you sent. The walls and windows were covered. Tears filled my eyes. I could barely keep from crying. It doesn’t take a village – it takes family and close friends.

    Thank you all very much. I will always remember what you did for me.

    Pete
    - lump first noticed 11/20/2005
    - I/O right Dec 8, 2005
    - 95% embryonal / 5% seminoma
    - normal markers PRE surgery
    - no vascular invasion, tunica free of cancer, epididymis free of cancer, lungs free, lymph free
    - Stage I diagnosis
    - surveillance
    - mid feb '06, beta hcg slightly elevated = 4.6...small enlarged lower node seen on CT scan...
    - 3BEP began feb 20, 2006
    - finished 3 BEP, last bleo, april 17, 2006
    - CT scan, blood markers, chest..all clear
    - back on surveillance

  • #2
    For all on the forum were glad to be part of your extended family. Thank you for sharing that.
    Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

    Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great letter, Pete. You live strong.
      Scott, [email protected]
      right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since


      Your donation funds Livestrong services for people facing cancer now. Please sponsor my ride!

      Comment


      • #4
        Dude, that letter was great.

        I felt like I wrote parts of it.

        Your situation is like mine. Lump, normal markers, surgery then surveillance. A little bit later, "oh, crap" with slighted elevated markers and then sent to the BEP cleaners. Except I don't have a wonderful wife and kids.

        Thanks for sharing.
        Age 33, Right I/O Mar '05, 90% embryonal, 10% teratocarcinoma, Surv until 4 mo CT (+), 3 x BEP Aug/Sep '05, CT 10/05 ok, CT 2/06 ok, CT 3/06 ok, CT 6/06 ok, X-Ray, Blood 8/06 ok, Sperm Count 09/06: Low but active, CT 10/06 ok, X-ray 12/06 ok, CT 02/07 ok, X-ray/blood 4/07 ok, CT 6/07 ok, X-ray/blood 09/07, CT 10/07 ok, CT 4/08 ok, CT 10/08 ok

        LAST NIGHT I DREAMT 1000 LIES
        I CAN SEE THE DAWN
        THROUGH A DIFFERENT SET OF EYES

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by petep View Post
          hello all...

          Now back to work, full steam & back to life as it was...this am, I had a reminder of my chemo, some numbness in the fingers & feet...a great reminder I'm still around...called my wife to arrange a quick getaway with the kids sometime this summer...it's easy to jump back in to life and forget how lucky we are sometimes...the numbness is a good reminder for me and I'm happy when it's around.

          I had written a letter to my friends & family after I came out of chemo. Those of you on this board were so helpful and supportive I wanted to share it so here it is:

          ___________

          Dear Friends and Family,

          I am writing to thank all of you for all of your cards, thoughts and prayers over the past several months.

          I had my last chemotherapy treatment toward the end of April. I recently had various tests to determine the status of my cancer – I am very happy to let everyone know that there were no signs of remaining cancer and I am officially in remission. I will continue to go for regular checkups, but the chance of recurrence is very low.

          It has been a very interesting experience. If I had a choice, I would not want to have gone through this, and I would never want anyone I know to go through it…but having been through it, it is an experience I would not trade for anything.

          Dominique, the kids and I did have some enjoyable moments. I let Mikayla and Mitch shave my head early on. They got a kick out of that. Mikayla videotaped the event and Mitch did the shaving. Mikayla said I looked good, and she really could not see much of a difference; Mitch said I looked like an egg. For the record, Mitch was right.

          You really can find humor in everything too – never take yourself seriously. About 2/3rds of the way through the chemo I was at my lowest, physically & mentally. I had to check back in the hospital for some complications and one night, at about 3am, I was trying to urinate in one of the small containers nurses make you use to monitor your output….anyway, there I was 30 pounds under my normal weight, white as a ghost, shaking and hairless…picture ET when they found him in the riverbed. And as I’m at the edge of my bed, I caught my reflection in a wall mirror and actually laughed out loud…I had never seen such a pathetic sight. The laugh did me good; it had been a while.

          I wish there were words to express how grateful I am to Dominique. I believe it was hardest on her. I was doing something for my cancer, while she could only watch. Watching in situations like this is always harder. She did everything – took care of the kids, drove me to every hospital visit, brought me every meal in the hospital and mostly, gave me strength and love. If I feared anything, it was that I always pictured us growing old, and I could not bear to think of something taking that away.

          The most difficult time was the call to my parents to let them know I had cancer. I phoned the night before my surgery. Having kids, I know I would gladly go through chemo 10 times before I’d see them suffer for a day. I still do not like to think of how difficult it must have been for them. But they gave me great hope and courage.

          My brother and sister, Mike and Ali, were wonderful. I’ve always been close to them, but now we call each other much more often and I always let them know I love them when we hang up. Ali called Dominique daily. Mike came down to see me in the hospital during that low period I mentioned. I welled up with tears when he left.

          My mother and father in law were there the whole way. They come down to help out during the first couple weeks and every Sunday night I got a call from my father in law wishing me well for the coming weeks treatments. My sister in law France, her husband Steve and son Yann also came down as well and she and my other sister in law Nancy took the kids skiing for a week in Canada. The support & help was great.

          I had the chance to catch up with some good friends I’ve had since I was a kid. My childhood friend since I was 8, Ken, called me quite a bit to check in. He’s was an inspiration but he probably did not know it. You realize that your best friends will always be there and that looking back - some of the best times of my life – were spent with him. Having a friend like Ken makes life worthwhile and I hope all those I care about get to have a friend like him.

          My Oncologist, Dr. Benedetto and his team were outstanding. He is in the business of saving lives and has a passion for what he does. In the hospital he’d stop by at midnight some days, and at 6am other days. He is a noted authority for my type cancer and therefore people come to see him from all parts. I don’t know when he sleeps. I think we all want to make a difference in the world…to help others – he does make differences daily. He saved my life and I am grateful to him.

          On my last week in the hospital, Dominique arrived at my room ahead of me. She decorated the room with all of the cards, posters, letters and drawings that all of you sent. The walls and windows were covered. Tears filled my eyes. I could barely keep from crying. It doesn’t take a village – it takes family and close friends.

          Thank you all very much. I will always remember what you did for me.

          Pete
          Pete,
          this is Joe and Margaret/Boyce...and we were talking about what a great guy you are...so Joe is "drunk posting" and I am trying to talk him out of joy riding with his mini-van...but seriously, you are awesome and we thought you should know.
          Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
          Current DVT
          Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

          "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

          Comment


          • #6
            wow, thank you...occasionally, I have my moments...

            hope all of you are doing well....I've been traveling a bit lately, but summer is going well and my most recent check up was an all clear, which is always good....

            though the doc, when he came into the room started with well, we already got your hcg back and that was 0.3...as he was speaking my heart raced for a moment....he saw the apprehension and laughed, saying sorry, I usually just tell you its normal...

            pete
            - lump first noticed 11/20/2005
            - I/O right Dec 8, 2005
            - 95% embryonal / 5% seminoma
            - normal markers PRE surgery
            - no vascular invasion, tunica free of cancer, epididymis free of cancer, lungs free, lymph free
            - Stage I diagnosis
            - surveillance
            - mid feb '06, beta hcg slightly elevated = 4.6...small enlarged lower node seen on CT scan...
            - 3BEP began feb 20, 2006
            - finished 3 BEP, last bleo, april 17, 2006
            - CT scan, blood markers, chest..all clear
            - back on surveillance

            Comment


            • #7
              Great letter - I too felt like I wrote parts of it. Although mine won't be as eloquent thank you for reminding me I have some people to thank for getting me through the last 7 months.

              Also, glad to see you managed to find humor in even your hardest moments - that is so key. I am constantly checking my "p.h. balance" - p. for patience and h. for humor!

              All best - glad to see you are back to your life!

              jeff
              Diagnosed 1.16.08
              Stage 1 T2 with vascular invasion, 4.5 cm tumor
              Cell type:
              79 percent embryonal carcenoma, 20 percent seminoma, 1 percent yoke sac tumor
              Left I/O 1.22.08
              3 rounds BEP finished 4.15.08
              CT scan, Chest Xray clear, AFP 4.2, All Clear 4.28.08

              Comment


              • #8
                Pete,
                You always know just how to say things! Wonderful letter, thanks for sharing it with us.
                Retired moderator. Husband, left I/O 16Dec2005, stage I seminoma with elevated b-HCG, no LVI, RTx15 (25Gy). All clear ever since.

                Comment

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